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Wednesday, 6 August 1930

Senator DALY (South Australia) (Vice-President of the Executive Council) . - If the proposal of Senator Guthrie meant the granting of a concession to aero clubs, the committee could consider it on that basis. But it is not.

Senator E B Johnston - Then why object to it?

Senator DALY - If we grant this concession to aero clubs we shall probably have applications from other clubs for similar concessions. After all, the aero clubs are not the only institutions in Australia which might prove of value in the event of an invasion. For instance, in South Australia there is a motor cycle club which, I submit, would be of inestimable value to the country in such an event.

Senator Cooper - Motor cyclists can be trained much more quickly than .is possible in the case of air pilots.

Senator DALY - That is not the point. We are considering the advisability of exempting aero clubs from taxation. These clubs are already granted a subsidy by the Commonwealth. From the point of view of Commonwealth revenue, it might be well if they were allowed to make profits for then a subsidy would nnt he necessary. If this exemption is granted, before long some South Australian senator will urge that the motor cycle club of that State should be similarly treated. Men who engage in flying, or, indeed, in motor cycling, do so for the love of it. The question of profit does not enter into their thoughts. I do not know whether in modern warfare homing pigeons are used to any extent ; but if they were, I can see the possibility of applications being made for the exemption of such clubs from taxation. In South Australia there are many pigeon clubs, which conduct regular pigeon races. They are doing as valuable work from a defence point of view, as are the aero clubs. If we exempt aero clubs, claims from these other clubs for exemptions could not consistently be rejected. The basis of exemption should not be that suggested by Senator Cooper, namely, the time taken to train pilots. That may form the basis for some consideration by the Defence Department for an increased subsidy to the club; but we have to consider whether at this time all clubs should be exempt from the payment of income tax. If meaningless amendments such as this are carried, we shall be inundated with requests for exemption from clubs of all description. If we exempt aero clubs, it will be very difficult to differentiate between the applications made on behalf of different organizations. This is a time when it is necessary to close down on exemptions. There is no question of any hardship being imposed upon aero clubs by the operation of the bill, or that the Govern- ment's taxation proposals will hamper the activities of aero clubs and prevent the expeditious training of pilots. In the circumstances, I ask the Senate to reject the amendment.

Senator MCLACHLAN(South Australia) | 3. 32]. - I appeal to the Minister to reconsider his decision. Aero clubs are on a different plane from other clubs. They are performing a national work. The men that they train take their lives in their hands every time they go aloft. The finest types of our young manhood are attracted to aviation, and as these aviation clubs will become our first line of defence under the policy of the Government, nothing should be done to discourage their development. I subscribe to all that the Minister has said with regard to the undesirability of opening a gap in the measure through which all types of organizations may gain exemption from taxation. But our aero clubs are serving a very lofty purpose. There can be no comparison between them and motor cycle clubs. This new science is of tremendous importance to the country, and even if the Minister were logical I should allow my sympathy to go in favour of the amendment. But I do not think that the honorable senator is logical. I should not support at this juncture any suggestion to exempt motor cycle clubs, racing clubs, sporting clubs, and so forth. Everybody in the community should bear his quota of taxation so far as is practicable.

Senator Daly - Does not the honorable senator realize that this amendment would invite clubs of all descriptions to make application for exemption from taxation ?

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